tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 12, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST
infrastructure so they have the same chance to grow and prosper and in that sense, having paying down deficits while still investing in the building blocks of innovation is not about borrowing from the future, it is about investing in a richer and more prosperous future. .. >> a commitment to evidence innovation and accountability. the part of having innovation,
what is working and not working and being willing to marshal the various forces from technology to different incentive designed to make sure you have a better outcome. and again i think this is another place where progressives should be, not be fearful. that view of the evaluation evidence-based change is behind the presidency race to the top, innovation funds, proposals would have liked career academies, home visits by nurses or at risk children, our pity, all of these are based on -- are that a, what's working and a commitment to put more resources kind innovation and then continually test that innovation for results. now that said, i do think that when we call for more accountability, more evidence-based evaluation, it is
important that we leave but it is also important that we do not allow programs that are for, let's say for children to somehow become the victims of a double higher standard. i've seen this too many times. winner research strategy for cancer -- win a research strategy for cancer goes awry, they say let's evaluate, let's figure out what we did it wrong and let's do better in future. they don't say, well, the whole idea of trying to cure cancer is used to guide us, but a waste of money. the government should be involved in the. unfortunately, there are times when people evaluate investments that help our poorest children, the people in the toughest, most disadvantaged neighborhoods, some of our most intractable problems even with, for example, young people rescued from trafficking. these are very, very difficult problems. and we should evaluate and see what works.
but we should also insist again there's not a double standard, so that if an evaluation, single evaluation or even a couple of evaluations somehow show that a particular strategy is not worth well, that is a motivation to do things better and smarter, not an excuse or reason to say government has no business being involved in that endeavor. so i think we need to be more change, accountability, evaluation, but not a tougher, higher double standard just when it comes to young people from the most disadvantaged and troubled environment. so there is so much to talk about in the innovation area. let me just mention a few things that we are focused on and then we can get to some questions. one, i think in the area we have been talking about unskilled workforce, how much there is a skill gap, skill gap, i think this is a critical issue. i think that for us to clear
policies we probably need to do a little better in clearly defining challenge. first of all i don't think there's any question that the main recent that we are having higher unemployment right now is not structurastructura l. it is fundamentally difficult. it is fundamentally a lack of demand that is still in our economy as army passionate as we recover from the great recession. that said, that awareness, that recognition, that's ben bernanke and former ed lazar have all embraced our problems now are more about demand, construction, should not undermine the fundamental importance of dealing with skills or that we may face temporary or future skill gaps. i think there's three reasons why we should be focused on this. number one, even the unemployment today that is fundamentally about the cyclical demand, less -- let's strengthen
the economy, can easily become the next structural skills problem of the future. we know that one of the challenges we face right now in our economy is not just lowering unemployment, but lowering long-term unemployment. if we allow legions of our fellow citizens to stay unemployed for a year or two year or longer, we note from study after study that they will have more trouble reestablishing their skills going forward. and that would be a humanitarian crisis for us as a country, but it will also be, we will also be sitting by and letting the new structural skills gap expand because we're not taking enough efforts right now to get people back to work to deal with long-term unemployment. secondly, there is some immediate skill gap issues. you here in welders prepared in engineers. we should be focused on the. third, perhaps most important, is the long-term issue which is really more, center talking about the future, it's less of a
current skills gap but it's more of a supply-side issue. we should believe that if we have a large enough supply of skilled workers, in the field of dreams notion from if we build them if we have the degree of skilled workers, it will help location of jobs come here. we will be more of a magnet for the high skilled jobs of the future. so i think that when we are looking at this though, we should in our policy solution make sure we are defining policies right so that we are having the right solution. sometimes when people are saying skill gaps they are talking about too few of the absolute top of the top engineers, technicians. those are issues people often talk about helping to address right now with high skills immigration. other times they are talking about the overall supply of steam workers in our economy.
s.t.e.m., science, technology, engineering and mathematical workers in our economy. that is a broader issue. that can only be dealt with larger issues are education and training. and then sometimes they're talking about skill gaps where there's just not a strong enough connection between how we do worker training and the skills that are actually opened in particular areas. and all three of those are important skill gap were still issues, but they did not take with them the exact same policy solutions. and as we move forward, places like cap and others can help all of us by helping to define these issues and defined which policies address them. and i would suggest would be strongest when we have a larger skills compact. i think, many people come to silicon valley to silicon valley of talk is about the need for high skills immigration. and i agree. i think we do need to do more on -- the president agrees, but not
just of a larger copperheads of immigration strategy, but one component of a larger skills strategy which also talks about how we can increase the number of skilled workers coming from our country, from u.s. schools, from u.s. work force. together, that is a skills compact i think the country could easily get behind and support. so i think that is highly important as we think of the skills issue going forward. and i think some of the issues i heard talked about before are critical for that as well. what are we doing in the pipeline? what are we doing from the early -- underrepresented groups are taking to science?
why do have a drop off in middle schools around young women? what are the long-term strategies? i think we have to hit on, we have to attack us on all cylinders. we have to have and all of the above strategy. but while we are doing the long-term strategy to have a greater supply of steam workers and high school workers, we should not take our eye off what we can do in the short term. one of the most powerful statistics that came out of the president's science and technology council was the idea that you could have a significant effect on the number of workers we have, if we just insured that you had a higher graduation rate among those who declare a s.t.e.m. major in the freshman year. from 40 to 60% would have a significant impact, and that's not about 20 years from the. that's about two or three years from now. so i think we been attacked us on the short and long-term. second issue on innovation, very important to us, and the
president, is on the overall issue of research, basic research. i think this is, you know, a critical issue for us. we as a country have long been committed to having a strong research agenda. and we know that the areas where the private sector will underperform is on basic research and blue sky we search. that's where nih, that's where arpa-e have coming. and to push my head in the budget issues for one second, i think there are a lot of people who come to talk to us at the white house who say, i care deeply about whether you're doing enough on energy and advanced manufacturing research. if you're going to help nih push us to the next frontiers of alzheimer's, research, and other important biomedical research. and then say, but it's not really my business, i'm not a budget person to worry about
whether we are cutting too deeply on our discretionary domestic budget. and what i have to say to folks is, you cannot attend you care deeply about innovation and research, and investing in early childhood, and investing in science, s.t.e.m. education but if you're indifferent to whether or not we reduce our budget deficit by simply taking deeper and deeper cuts in domestic discretionary budget, at some point you get to a point where you're simply trading off between early childhood and biomedical research and higher education. and those are not trade-offs the american public wants us to make. so we need to have, when we talk about having, getting our fiscal house in order, i want to remind people that when i was here in the early '90s, one of the is
why people made that case was that if we had expanding deficits, it wasn't just that we would crowd out private capital. it was that we would crowd out our public investment in the future, and children, in modern infrastructure, and innovation. so, when we decide we're going to cut spending between these two as part of a larger deficit reduction, agreement, those of you who care about innovation need to care about how you cut, how you do spending. we have already cut domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level since the eisenhower administration as a percentage of our economy. that is something the president felt was necessary in these extraordinary times, but to cut another 10 or 15% as some do, will make the proposal being suggested a mute point. so i fly that forever. the third issue i will talk about before closing is just
manufacturing. this administration has made manufacturing a priority, and we are very aware that when you focus on manufacturing, there are some who will take a more classical view, economic view, and say, you cannot have a preference, or you cannot care more about any particular part of the economy, because then you're picking winners and losers. you are putting dead weight loss on the economy. and i want to make the economic case for why we feel that it's not right. first of all let's consider research and develop an. research and development is an area where there is now strong bipartisan support, that there's significant spillover benefits that go beyond the particular company doing research and development. we support our universities and basic research. we should give the r&d tax credits for companies because we defeated that there is a benefit
of innovation and growth that happens to our economy when that happens here that goes beyond the specific benefits of the individual company. and i think that manufacturing for us, done right, done smart has that same justification. number one, manufacturing does punch above its weight, 97%, 70% private sector research, 60% of exports come from manufacturing. secondly, location matters. studies show that when a major manufacturing plant comes into an area, the productivity of the nearby manufacturing also goes up. that are positive supply chain and ecosystem impacts ago, again, go beyond the particular company. and so, but for those who take more of in knee-jerk review,
that argument that anything for -- are the importance of location is somehow just a political or distortion economic policy, you should look at the increase in strong academic evidence that suggests location does matter, and that it is right as a matter of public policy to want to have more manufacturing locations in the united states. notice how many companies are moving their production and their design specialists together, in the same building, on the floor. wide? they think it matters. bell labs, they think it matters to have production and design together, that there is a greater innovation, benefit, that goes on. and exploit which a professor makes it so well is that when you have an overall supply chain in manufacturing, when you suffer a period where that
manufacturing base is eroded, it is not just a temporary thing. it affects our ability to critique for the next -- compete for the next level of high value at a project to their example is consumer electronics where it might have seemed at one point that it was not such a terrible thing, if consumer electronics were produced somewhere else with lower costs labor. but what they argue is that eroded our ability, our base to compete for what became the more high value added consumer electronics of the future, but if that's the test case for letting her manufacturing base become eroded, then i think we can feel positive that what happened on autos was the opposite side. the fact the american automobile industry was saved or helped saved itself with the help of president obama and the workers and the people there, is
obviously part of our, part of a manufacturing accessory in the united states now that may have saved over a million jobs. but i also think it's very important for the future. nobody doubts that the united states automobile industry is now positioned for the future jobs, which would not have happened had we let that the entire supply chain become eroded. i always thought one of the most significant quotes was that from alan at four. because everything anybody would've been taught in their metro or micro iconic -- economic class would have been that if you had three main competitors and two of them went out of business, the one standing would have been stronger, may be taking more market share and would be more powerful. it's striking then that ford motor company ceo said at the
time, and i quote, we believe that if gm and chrysler gone into freefall bankruptcy they would have taken the supply base down and taken the industry down, but maybe turn the u.s. recession into a depression, closed quote. that is a teaching moment about the power of the overall innovative skill set, the supply chain, and what that means for our capacity to compete when the company that would've been left standing thought they might have gone down as well. so, there's so much to say. i want to make these viewpoints, overall perspective, talk a little bit about manufacturing, about research and develop skills, and i'd be very happy to take your questions going forward. [applause] >> we have time for a few questions. i will call on people. if you can wait for christine to
come around with a microphone. >> thank you. rob, invest in state we're in manufacturing invested in 20 states. my question goes to innovation funds which you brought it. at which stage are you focusing on? is it with respect to either extension or the startups? then on an execution basis, which the regional plan as far as international strategy? >> well look, i think it's for those of us who in the government job, would you want to be a bit like the classic economic look, is you want to look for where we're under investing as a country, or were we have too little capital as a country going to private sector, where because individual private actors do not feel they get the full benefit from those investments. but we as a country would be richer if there was more investment in those areas.
and so i think one of the things that we are trying to look at is, i think the expressions become, where are the valley of death? mean, where are those places where in the innovative process for companies, where they are not able to get the capital they need, perhaps one of the gazelles, one of the fast-growing companies. and i think the hard part, at the government level is you have to ask, is it a valley of death because it should be a valley of death? because it doesn't make sense for private or the public sector to be invested in companies like that, or is it a case where there really is a market failure? where it may not make sense for a particular venture funds to invest in certain companies. but if we had a broader investment, you would have, some
would prosper and we as a country would be better off. and that's where i think you look for the type of schools you have with the fdic and other tools we see, are there areas where it makes sense when we as a country maybe care more about how many small manufacturers have a chance to grow and expand, and that even if there's a risk aversion in the capital markets, or it's just not a fad or trend of the day. there's a strong and of public purpose for us to go in there. and that's something that we look at, we take very seriously, and it's something that we are having discussions with karen mills, with treasury department about. so we are not going to be around for four more years, so we are open and eager to get people's suggestions. i will say on the regional strategy, i think one of the, the very strong initiative the president has put forward was a national innovation proposal but
i think what was interesting there was that we propose a billion dollars to 15 or 20, and then when it didn't look like congress was going to pass by, the president said to us, can't you pull together enough money and the federal government to do a pilot? so we did kind of passed the hat and come up with $45 million. when we put the proposal forward, we received 13 partnerships. 13 tremendous collaborations. we were only able to work one in youngstown where the partners included not just case western but carnegie mellon. and it is an excitement about that, and i think also the excitement that you're doing something regional. where you have pennsylvania, ohio, and the whole rust belt all investing together instead of the way things typically are where it's a particular state or a particular, a particular state or a particular city looking for that.
so i think considering that we tested that we've seen there's enough interest that 30 partnerships would apply for the. that bush is i think the promise of the strategy which has been used in germany of these national manufacturing innovation hubs. and i think that is something that we are going to look to promote in a second term. >> thank you. paul friedman with every child matters. we are very, i applaud you for your comments about not having is fighting against money for children versus money for research and other vital needs. so the question is where do we find more revenue? and have you considered taxes on stock transfers, stock transactions or other kind of innovative, carbon tax, other kind of approaches were we can find new revenue so that will be possible for us to not fight
amongst ourselves for resources? >> well, it's going to shock you for you and industry that i am not here to make news on new revenue. we are busy fighting right now to ensure that we have a budget agreement. it's very balanced and i think part of that balance, having enough high income revenues together with smart entitlement savings. that's the type of balance people talk about the most, but the other type of balance, that you're putting together a package in a way that does not handcuff us, not only for creating jobs in the short term but long-term investment. so i think one of the things as i stressed that you don't want to do is try to go further deficit reduction anyway house republican budget deficit, which is another trillion dollars of deep cuts, precisely in the areas of our government where we
fund early childhood, where we fund biomedical research, where we fund the national science foundation. and so many of the other drivers of innovation and economics -- economic growth. i do think that we are, as a challenge for us going forward, in repairing, repairing the damage that was done fiscally from the great recession. how we make sure we are giving people the confidence that we are putting down our debts and deficit, percentage of the economy, confidence and long-term investment here. at the same time we do not starve what has been so much a part of america's history, which is our willingness to invest in the future. that investment is in our children, all children, including poor children, and
modern infrastructure, in research, blue sky research. and i think that is, when we get beyond the challenge we face over these next two weeks, i think that's going to be a broader challenge we're going to face. >> we have time for one more question, over here. i just want to say how much support the president has on ensuring fair balance and -- [inaudible] >> richard with trust met andy. so we are basically a biomedical company that helps doctors collaborate better using social media. and i want to ask a question about crossing the valley of death. so our company is very fortunate that we got a small amount of innovation funding from health care their monies. but it's really a broader questions about the health care ecosystem. in silicon valley a company goes under, software engineers find new jobs in a matter of weeks.
but in biotech we have people, a lot of people with ph.d's and they are much more longer-term and specialized areas. we don't appear to have the same kind of resilience but it seems like part of the valley of death, part of an issue of ecosystem your a lot of global health companies that are having trouble getting off the ground and getting things quick enough, part of the valley of death is regulation. coming together on these regulations. size wondering if you can tell us how we foster a more vibrant -- valley of death for biomedical's, christian at in that? >> well, let me make a couple of points. number one, as you mentioned health care, i feel a bit obligated to say that there's probably a few areas where innovation is going to be more important than health care. i think one of the points the president makes repeatedly is the only good solution in
dealing with our health care challenge is doing things that lower health care expenditures while increasing the health value people receive. of the things you do are cutting their cost shifting, they are even raising costs to try to lower what's on the federal books. but the thing that is best for our country is if we have the type of innovation and continue to to push the type of innovation that lowers health care spending, not because your cost shifting but because you are showing that we can get better value at lower costs it and i think for us as much as there is focus on why, you know, entitlement savings will be part of a long-term budget, making sure that we're doing everything
we can to expand and test and innovate with some of the reforms that are in the affordable care act. i hope will be a focus going for. i realize we've been through a political period where there's stress on what it survived or would not survive. now that we're past that, now that we know the law the land, to be so much to gain from not just a bipartisan effort, but an effort to the entire expert and health community to look at which of these reforms are working, which of these innovations are working. because this is the true answer to a long-term health challenge. we have -- last time -- >> just a minute or so left in this discussion. we believe it here. you can see the rest of it at c-span.org. u.s. senate is about to gavel in, beginning with the general speeches in till 2 p.m.
the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. lord, you provide for us light and salvation. whom shall we fear? you provide strength for our lives. of whom shall we be afraid? provide our lawmakers this day boundless energy to accomplish your purposes. lift them over the hurdles of fear and panic as you energize them with kindness, peace, and patience.
lord, astound them with the many ways you can help them find solutions to the problems that beset our land. help them to consider any indecision that may bring catastrophic consequences. may the tone and tenor of their words and deeds this day build bridges of cooperation for the good of our nation and world. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america
and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., december 12, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president, following leader remarks the senate will be in a period of morning business until 2:00 today. the republicans will control the first 30 minutes and the majority the final 30 minutes. the time from 11:30 till 2:00 p.m. will be for remarks by retiring senators. following morning business we'll resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 3637,
the tag extension legislation. the filing deadline for first-degree amendments to that legislation is 1:00 p.m. today. madam president, the headline news for the last many weeks has been the fiscal cliff. in speaking with the president six months before the election, a few weeks before the election, a few days before the election and immediately after the election, he indicated that we needed to get our financial house in order and that his goal was to do just that. but to do that, because of past experiences, he laid out what he wanted, and that's very simple. the rates for those who have been blessed with economic security in this country will have to pay a little bit more and those middle-class americans will have the same tax structure they had for the last many
years. he will not raise taxes on the middle class and those people who have done well will have to pay a little bit more. the american people think this is the way it should be. now, madam president, just a little bit of history -- i've said this before and i'll go into a little more detail today. when i first became the leader, i took a trip with a number of senators to south america to countries that we american senators had never been to, like bolivia. it was a wonderful trip. it was great for our country and it was good for the senators to learn more about that most important part of the world. i was very fixed on who i wanted to go on that trip with me. but the two i asked to go was judd greg going, new hampshire, who had been chairman of the budget committee; and kent conrad, who was chairman of the
budget committee at the time. those two fine senators spent about 18 hours seated side by side, both having tablets to write on and they were working on the number-one issue that they thought was important for this country: what we do about the future of this country economically. and they came up with an idea that was very, very good. it had worked before on closing military bases. madam president, we had military bases that we had been trying to close since world war 1. we couldn't do it. we didn't have the political will to do it. so we had a base-closing commission. with the base-closing commission, what we did was said okay, we're going to have a commission. we'll work on this. they will report back to us and there will be no filibusters, no amendments, up-or-down vote. we did that. we had two rounds of those. we closed scores of bases, saved
the country hundreds of billions of dollars. and that's what judd gregg and kent conrad patterned their legislation. there will be a commission reported. they will report back to us. no amendments, no filibusters. i thought it was a novel, great idea. legislation was drafted. i brought it to the senate floor. seven republicans who cosponsored the legislation wouldn't vote for it. we couldn't get 60 votes to bring it to the floor. so a number of us asked president obama if he would do a commission, and he did. it's the bowles-simpson commission. madam president, the bowles-simpson commission was -- didn't have the potential that the judd gregg-kent conrad work had because they sent us something here, we could amendment it, we can -- we can
amend it, filibuster it, but we didn't have to worry about that because they couldn't get enough votes from the commissioner to do that. so that was a failure. then president obama entered into negotiations with the speaker, and they had talks that went on for weeks. they failed. and then they had another round of talks. that failed. joe biden, the vice president of the united states, met with the majority leader of the house of representatives, the republican eric cantor. cantor walked out of those meetings. after all of that, there was an agreement made here that we would have a supercommittee. it would be work under the same terms and conditions as the program that judd gregg and kent conrad came up with.
the super committee, three appoint bid me, senator mcconnell, the speaker and leader pelosi. 12. they would work, bring it to the floor. no amendments, no filibusters. about a week before they were ready, they had to report by statute. i got a letter signed by virtually every republican senator. no revenue. so, madam president, the president's not going to fall for that again. every time we've done this -- and i went over what has happened -- and we can add to that the gang of six, the gang of eight well-intentioned senators. never ever could they agree on revenue. so the president's not going to fall for that again. he's not going to do that again. it is, mr. president, it's like here we go. we're going to have a card game. you show us all your cards and then we'll show you ours.
no. comes time to show them, the cards of the person you're playing against, no. it's like the charlie brown cartoon. how many times -- how many times is charlie brown going to try to kick that football? because we know every time he approaches that football, it will be taken away from him. he can't do it. and that's what's happened. and we are in the going to fall for that again. the american people aren't going to be under the illusion that the republicans are sometime in the future going to come up with revenue. they're going to come up with raising the rates. or, madam president, we're going over the cliff. how many times do we have to go through this drill to know that it's an unfair game. so president obama is not going to fall for that again. he's been very, very clear. i would hope that as i heard on the news this morning, an
interview done by leader pelosi, she says she has hopes that speaker boehner will come around. hoeup that in fact -- i hope that in fact is the case, but to this point there hasn't been a lot of progress, and i'm very, very disappointed. madam president, i want to have -- i ask consent that the record will appear in two different speeches. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: appreciate that. i'm going to talk about joe lieberman. the very, very modest apartment -- no hot water -- where joseph lieberman was raised has long since been demolished, but the values he learned in that little apartment in the flat above his grandparents' house are still there. the same values of devotion and public service has driven him not only to overcome humble beginnings, but to serve the country for 24 years in the united states senate. two years ago, on the day he announced his retirement from
the senate, joe lieberman described his rise from a cold water flat to congress as follows -- quote -- "my four grandparents came to america seeking freedom, and they found it. they came to america hoping for opportunities, and they got them. but even they could not have been "-- i'm sorry. "but even they could not have dreamed that their grandson would end up as a united states senator." joe was always a natural-born leader. he was president of his high school graduating class. he got undergraduate degrees and a law degree from yale, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. and he was chairman of the yale daily news while he was there. and he was really a civil rights activist early on as a young, young man. he was inspired, as many of us were, by the words of john kennedy. joe won a seat in the connecticut state senate where he served for ten years,
including six as the majority leader of the connecticut state legislature. after returning to private practice for two years, he served as the first full-time connecticut attorney general. it was during his years as attorney general that he met the love of his life, hadassah. today they have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. then in 1988, again he took on one of the giants of politics in the state of connecticut, a race that no one thought he could win, but he did. he defeated an incumbent united states senator. and for the last 24 years he served the people of connecticut and this country with honor and distinction. i was also pleased to have the opportunity to support senator lieberman's historic candidacy for vice president in 2000. joe was the first major jewish party candidate for vice president. senator lieberman is a devout observant jew. he's written a book about the importance of keeping the sabbath as a day of rest.
i read the book. i was so impressed with that book. our sabbaths may be on different days, but the solemnne of the sabbath is important to both of us. i was so impress bid that book, i -- so impressed by that book i bought 20 of them, i sent them to my friends and family. joe lieberman says his faith is the basis for his strong desire to serve the state of connecticut and our country. during his four terms representing connecticut in the senate, joe lieberman played a key role in drafting and passing many different pieces of legislation, but the 1990 clean air act amendments which have literally saved lives by eliminating toxic gases and acid rain. he's a powerful voice on security issues and he has been
exemplary working on a bipartisan basis with senator susan collins who has been the ranking member of that committee. he led the charge to create the 9/11 commission, to implement its recommendations and was a leading voice of the creation of the department of homeland security which we now look to for keeping this country safe. as a member of the senate armed services committee, senator lieberman was a strong advocate for repeal of discriminatory don't ask, don't tell policy and unjustly forced gay and lesbians service members into the closet. he fought to ensure our military is the best prepared and best equipped fighting force in the world. we have much, much in common, but we don't always agree on policy issues, but we do 90% of the time. but regardless of the few differences we have, i have never, ever doubted joe lieberman's principles or his patriotism. i respect his independent streak as it stems from strong convictions. joe said it best himself, and i quote -- "i have not always fit
comfortably into conventional political boxes. maybe you have noticed that. democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, because i have always thought my first responsibility is not to serve a political party but to serve my constituents, my state and my country. whatever the partisan or policy differences that divide us, they are much less important than the shared values and dreams that unite us." madam president, i have watched up close. he has been a wonderful member of the democratic caucus. i so admire and respect him. i agree with his -- senator lieberman's values. he has been, i repeat, an asset to the democrat caucus and our country. i am pleased to have shared the dream of serving the senate with such an extraordinary man, an exceptional senator. i congratulate joe and hadassah on their years of dedicated service because they have worked together. i wish them both happiness.
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday, i came to the floor to point out something that shouldn't need repeating but does. any agreement on debt and deficit reduction has to include cuts to government spending. the reason i shouldn't have to repeat this is because the president himself has been running around the country for two years saying any agreement has to be balanced, meaning both revenue and cuts. this was the message he ran on, and it also happens to be one that the overwhelming majority of americans actually support, especially the part about cuts which more than 3/4 say they support. if you heard some of the wasteful projects i detailed yesterday, you would see why. i don't think there is a single
person outside of washington who doesn't think we waste massive amounts of money in this town and who doesn't wonder why it is so hard for us to agree to cut back, yet now with the election behind him, president obama is suddenly silent, silent on the need for spending cuts. he keeps talking about balance. that polls well. but when it comes to specific cuts, he is largely silent. all of a sudden, it's all tax hikes all the time. forget balance. just raise taxes and spend even more. the president and his allies have taken so many things off the table, the only thing left is the varnish. the president now seems to think after his re-election that if all he talks about is the need for tax hikes and that's all reporters write about, we will all magically forget the part about needing balance.
it's a classic bait and switch. and we're seeing new versions of it nearly every day now. democrats campaigned for two years saying we needed to take a balanced approach to our problems, yet now that the president has been re-elected, they are walking back and the only thing left are the taxes. what the president should be doing after his re-election is bringing people together and showing that he has the desire and the ability to lead the two parties to an agreement that's good for the economy and good for the country. so far at least, he has chosen a different path, a path aimed at pleasing the most partisan elements of his base a month after his re-election and weeks before the fiscal cliff he would still rather campaign than cooperate. and we'll find out this week if he has the will to change path and get something done or just double down on the campaigning. look, the election's over. the president may enjoy these
political rallies, but it's really time to get serious. the american people are bravely concerned about the nation's future. they are counting on us to prevent the kind of crisis here that we have seen unfolding all across europe. republicans have engaged in these discussions in good faith. we have agreed to make tough choices. the question is where's the president? where is the president? where's the only man in the country who can make it happen? well, it appears that with just a couple of weeks left to resolve this crisis, he is busy moving the goal post. instead of leading as he was elected to do, he's out campaigning and playing games with the nation's future. so my sincere plea this morning is that the president gets serious, that he put the campaign behind him and lead. if he does, he will have willing partners. the first sign is seriousness, seriousness about spending cuts.
now, madam president, on an entirely different matter, yesterday i began the difficult task of saying an early goodbye to now six members of our conference who will be leaving the senate at the end of the year, and this morning i'd like to say a few words about my friend and long-time colleague, senator snowe. she has devoted the last 40 years of her life to serving the people of maine. it's been an honor to work alongside this remarkable woman for the last 18 years and to see up close her tenacity and toughmindedness in the service of her constituents. some have described senator snowe's advocacy for mainors as as -- for mainers as ferocious,
and i think there are few better examples than that than the fight she waged on behalf of maine after the brac recommendations of 2005. when the list of targeted facilities came out, senator snowe mounted what's been described as a relentless months-long campaign akin to a defense at a trial. she marshalled all the data and the best arguments, and when decision day finally arrived, not only were two of the three maine facilities told to remain open, one of them was actually expanded. it's stories like this that help explain why olympia's constituents keep sending her back to washington by such wide, wide margins and why so many were shocked to hear that she would be leaving at the end of the year. as one shipyard worker in portsmouth whose job she helped save put it, we love her, we love her and she loves us.
and i can't recall ever saying that publicly about a u.s. senator, the ship worker said, but truly she is a wonderful person. senator snowe will tell you many of her political views solidified during her modest maine upbringing. her parents ran a diner near augusta, and while they didn't have much, her father was adamant she receive a good education. so much so that he was dismayed to learn her kindergarten only lasted half the day. he was convinced, she once said, that i was getting off on the wrong foot. it was at school that olympia first discovered her passion for politics. at st. basil's academy, a greek orthodox girls' school she attended until she was 15, she won her first election as dorm president. she later graduated from edward little high school in auburn, maine, and subsequently attended
the university of maine where in 1969 she earned a degree in political science. it was also in college that she met peter snowe. peter shared olympia's passion for politics. they married shortly after graduation, and in 1972, peter was elected to the state legislature while olympia went to work as a legislative staffer for maine congressman bill coen. now, the young couple seemed well on their way to building a life together, but in 1973, in the midst of a winter snowstorm, tragedy struck. peter was killed in a car crash. at a still young age, so limb yeah was left to build a life for herself. what could have marked the end of her political aspirations became a new beginning instead.
as olympia once put it, she resolved to make a positive out of a terrible negative. she ran for office in the special election held to fill her late husband's seat and won. it was the start of a long and distinguished career in public service. olympia was subsequently re-elected to the maine house in 1974 and elected to the maine senate in 1976. in 1978, when bill cohen, her friend and former boss, ran for the u.s. senate, she ran for his seat in the house of representatives and won again. at the age of 31, she was at the time the youngest republican woman ever elected to congress and one of just 16 women in the house. olympia served eight terms in the house.
she was a member of the house budget committee, the house foreign affairs committee and the former house select committee on aging. and working with an arizona lawyer named jon kyl and a mississippi whip named trent lott, she helped turn minority republicans into a potent legislative force, ensuring some of the biggest legislative victories of the reagan era. it was while serving in the house that olympia met jock mckernan who was a rising political star in his own right. elected as maine's second congressman in 1982, jock served alongside olympia in the house and was later elected governor of maine. the two were married in 1989 and they have been a great team since. as olympia puts it, i have a wonderful partner in life. we have been able to ride the waves together.
when george mitchell announced his retirement in 1994, olympia threw her hat in the ring and won in a landslide, with 60% of the vote against her opponent's 36%, and carrying every county in the state. believe it or not, it was the smallest margin of victory she has enjoyed in three senate races. with this victory, olympia became the only woman in history to serve in both houses of her state legislature and both houses of congress. in the senate, olympia has worked tirelessly as a member of the finance committee, the armed services committee, the committee on commerce, science and transportation, the select committee on intelligence and as chair of the committee on small business and entrepreneurship. now, a lot of people like to focus on olympia's independent streak but my experience is that
she herself has always cared most deeply about the people of maine. she has gone to great efforts over the years to talk to her constituents directly. i have made main street tours across the state a hallmark of my tenure in public office, she once said. they are like my secret poll. it's through these tours that olympia decides which problems to fix, whether it was storm relief after the 1998 ice storm, the fight i already mentioned to keep maine's military facilities open, or reauthorization of the northeast dairy compact on behalf of maine's dairy farmers. of course, this isn't to down play olympia's penchant for independence or for joining gangs. senator snowe's maternal grandparents emigrated to the u.s. from sparta which may have explained her fighting spirit. just like the spartan king
leonitis, she has never been afraid of a fight, even with members of her own party. she headed the centrist coalition with senator breaux. she chaired the brown cloalings with senator landrieu. in 1995, she was one of five republicans to vote to acquit president clinton of both articles of i am peachment. and in 2005, she joined the bipartisan gang of 14 which helped defuse an earlier dispute about threats to change the senate's rules. yet, what many failed to mention is that despite her vaunted independence, olympia has always been a very proud republican. we believe as republicans, she recently said, that the individual is more important than the state. we believe that the great days of our past can be a steppingstone to an even greater future. we believe a job is preferential
to a handout and independence is better than dependence. we believe that the private sector is more productive than big government will ever be, and when it comes to a balanced budget, a top priority for the party, senator snowe has been a true leader. she has been a long time supporter of a balanced budget amendment as far back as 1993 when she was still serving in the house. she was one of four initial sponsors of the legislation that would have mandated a balanced budget. and one of her first acts as a senator was to deliver a speech in front of a senate committee in support of a balanced budget amendment. olympia's many accomplishments have attracted broad notice outside of washington. in 2004, forbes named her one of the 100 most powerful women in the world, rating her even more influential than j.k. rawley or oprah. in 2006, "times" named her one
of the ten best senators, noting she is in the center of every policy debate in washington. but i don't think anything compares with the honor that was bestowed on senator snowe by the town people of bethel, maine, who in 1999 created the olympia snowe-woman, 122-feet tall snowman that still ranks as the tallest snowman or woman ever built. it required 13 million pounds of snow, took more than a month to build, wore a 100-foot long scarf, had two entire 27-foot evergreen trees for arms and required 16 pairs of skis for eyelashes. "it's just my luck," senator snowe said of the monument.
"i'd have a world record-breaking monument named after me and it will be gone by u.s." olympia, you've had a truly remarkable career. we thank you for your service. and most especially to the people of maine. we wish you all the best in the next phase of your life. and as you think of what to put in your memoir, i would only ask one thing: please go easy on us. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 2:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. with the first hour equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first half. the senator from massachusetts. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i want to commend the minority leader on the nice tribute to
senator snowe. i rise today to give my closing floor speech for this session in the united states senate. from the date of my swearing in on february 4, 2010, until the last day that i serve in this great chamber, which is a month shy of three years serving, i still say and believe aside from my marriage to my wife gail of 26 years and the birth of my two children ayla and arianna, serving for the great people of massachusetts in the people's seat has been the greatest honor of my life. i want to thank the people of massachusetts for that opportunity to think that someone like me whose parents were married four times each, lived in 17 houses and subjected to forms of abuses growing up has the chance to serve in one of the greatest deliberative bodies in the world is something
i will soon not forget. to the young people sitting here and may be watching, take it from me that in this country even when it seems you're fighting against all odds, anything is possible for you. there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome, so do not give up and always follow your dreams. as i have said before, a person has no business in politics unless they respect the judgment of the voters. and if you run for office, you've got to be able to take victory or defeat in a gracious manner. i do respect the judgment of the voters. i accept their decision in this election with the same attitude and sense of appreciation that i held when i arrived here in this chamber almost three years ago. when i was sworn in, i was the 1,914th senator accepting the oath of office by signing the book right up at the clerk's table. and there were many senators that served before me, and there will be many senators that serve after my service is over.
that my name is listed amongst them is very, very humbling. to all the people of massachusetts, i greatly appreciate the confidence that you placed in me for the past three years in allowing me to represent you in the united states senate. to my colleagues, i want to thank you for the courtesy and friendship that you afforded me during my time here. when i arrived here, i promised that i would read the bills, see how they affected massachusetts, see how they affected our country, our deficit and i would vote in an independent manner based on the merits of that issue rather than political partisan politics. and i'm proud that i did keep that promise to be independent. i'm proud that my voting record has identified me as the second-most bipartisan senator in the united states senate as referenced by "congressional quarterly" and i was named as the least partisan senator in the united states senate by washingtonian magazine. it was the independent and
bipartisan approach that provided me with an opportunity to stand with the president at the white house on three separate occasions in the past two years to see bills that i had either sponsored or played a key role in securing their passage into law. i was honored to work with many of my colleagues that are here today and many who are listening on both sides of the aisle on legislation that was signed into law to move our country forward, including the stock act to ban insider trading by members of congress. madam president, you played a key role in that as well. the hire a hero veterans bill to help our veterans fighting for jobs actually have opportunities to be hired by employers who are looking for those heroes. the crowdfunding legislation which will help young entrepreneurs get access to new capital and create jobs, something i hope the s.e.c. will immediately come up with a rule so these people can start creating jobs and raising money. legislation to reform wall street, where i was the deciding vote to strengthen our country's
financial system. legislation to eliminate an onerous 3% withholding tax, the stealth tax that would have affected government contractors. that's also gone and into law. legislation to ensure that our fallen heroes receive the dignity and respect they deserve at the arlington national cemetery. and that's something now that is also fixed. and many, many other congressional actions that have made a difference not only in massachusetts, but in this great country. these are all shared successes that i was proud to be part of each and every one of them. i have always said that in order to do our business as our country's leaders, we must do our work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to ensure that the actions taken by congress benefit all americans. not just those of one political party or oneitical ideology. during my time here and now as i'm leaving, i have been and still am deeply concerned about the lack of bipartisan efforts to solve our country's most
pressing economic challenges and in turn move our country forward. many times political party and personal gain is put before the needs of our country. i know we can do it better. the american people expect us to do it better. and as i leave, i challenge the leadership on both sides of the aisle to make the process more open and transparent. i challenge members to work with each other in a more open and honest manner. and i challenge the president and the congressional leadership to also work together immediately to address the concerns and needs of our country, because after all, we are americans first and our country deserves better. in closing, you see my staff here. many of them who were here from the beginning. they came from applicants over 4,000 for a very select few jobs. i want to thank vanessa centers, my chief of staff, and each and
every one of the staff for the amazing work that they have done in really interesting times to come here as the 41st or the 60th senator and have the media scrutiny and all the commentary from every special interest group around the country in the middle of a senate that was gridlocked, and to come here and have an opportunity to make a difference and do it well without making any mistakes is something i think benefited massachusetts but also benefited this great country. it allowed for the debate to resume once again, to eliminate a supermajority so one side could ram through things that had other side had no play or no involvement in. that's not what our country is about. that's not what this chamber is about. we deserve better. the people of massachusetts and the people of this country deserve better. they deserve to have their voices heard. every person in this chamber has one vote. and to think that one side or the other, depending on who's in charge, is going to stifle that
one senator from whatever part of the country, to let he or she have their moment to express their views on something that is important to them and their constituency, to shut that off and put your thumb on it is not the way we should be doing it here. and i'm deeply concerned about any changes in the rules that are being proposed to eliminate the ability for both sides to battle and do battle in a thoughtful, respectful manner. if you see the movie "lincoln" you saw back then they were battling for months at a time in order to convince each other to go one way or another. since when has it been a problem to actually have vibrant debate in the united states senate, in this great chamber? since when? what is everybody scared about? i don't understand that. so i'm hopeful -- i'm hopeful that the leaders will come together and recognize that we need to continue hof that vibrant -- continue to have that vibrant debate. that's what makes this chamber so unique than any other chamber throughout the world, any other government, any other form of
government throughout the world. and to take that away and limit it i think is a big, big mistake. i want to say thank you obviously to the people of massachusetts to entrusting me to sit in the people's seat for the past three years. i want to thank my colleagues who are here, whoeufd some great -- who i have had some great friendships and opportunities to work with. as i've said many times before, temporary victory and tkwet is is -- and defeat is temporary. depending on what happens and all of us, we may obviously meet again. but i'm looking forward to continuing on with those friendships, continuing on working with my staff. and i want to thank you for the opportunity to speak today. and i yield the floor. thank you. i suggest the absence of a
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i have four unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during the session of today's senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the
record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. madam president, the house of representatives is back. we welcome them. it's good to have them back in business here in washington. i hope the first order of business this week is to pass a bill that we enacted in july of this year which would protect 98% of american families from any increase in income taxes because of the fiscal cliff. i hope that both democrats and republicans in the house agree these working families don't need a tax increase. those who should pay an additional amount are those in the highest income categories. that's what president obama said. when we voted in the senate, we said those making $250,000 or less, those families, should have no increase in the income tax. i appeal to speaker boehner before he takes another recess in the house, please call this measure and pass it. it will give peace of mind to literally millions of american families who are wondering what's going to happen january 1. these are families, many of which, struggle from paycheck to paycheck. they have been falling behind. i get letters from them.
from lansing, illinois, linda prototo me and said please vote to keep middle-class taxes from rising. $2,000, which is what they would increase on average, would help me to keep food on the table and gas in my car. it could even help someone else. please vote for the middle class. i will. and then from jeremy in princeville, illinois, i'm reaching out to you to ask you to continue to push for extensions of medical middle class tax cuts. we are a family of four making $100,000 annually. a $2,000 increase would hurt our family. our family is trying to better themselves but this increase would hurt our bottom line and the chances of helping our kids. joan from napierville writes very high earners should pay more in taxes. as a former small business owner, i know this isn't going to hurt small businesses. very, very few of us make $250,000 a year. i know the gap between the rich and everyone else is the greatest it's been since the guilded age. smart, brave politicians help
give the middle class a chance. we need that from you now. she writes to my office. i support it. i think she is right and the president is right. i'm waiting for speaker boehner to finally break out of this back and forth as to whether or not the wealthy in america should pay a little bit more in taxes. for goodness sakes, that's obvious. to everybody in america but the speaker. mr. speaker, get back to ohio and ask some of those families about whether middle-class families should pay higher taxes january 1. the answer's clear. they should not. it is within this power of the speaker john boehner to bring to the floor of the house today, today a measure that passed the senate in july, that will protect families making $250,000 a year or less. what i hear from the speaker is we won't protect middle-class families until you agree to raise the retirement age, the eligibility age for medicare. well, i have said to all who have asked, i believe in
entitlement reform. i believe medicare going broke in 12 years is a serious challenge to all of us, but i am loathe to see us make a policy change in medicare in the closing days of this month that we have to live with and can't explain. here's the part you can't complain. if you increase the eligibility age from medicare to 65 to 67, what's a person to do who retires at 63 or 64 with a medical condition? where are they going to go for health insurance? the insurance exchanges created by health care reform, perhaps, but don't you remember the republicans and their blood oath to kill that the first chance they get? is that going to be the only rescue, the only option for a senior waiting for medicare eligibility? are the republicans prepared to say that they will now stand behind the insurance exchanges and make sure there is an affordable, accessible health insurance plan that covers seniors until they are medicare eligible?
that's the key question. until the answer to that, i basically think the proposal to raising that medicare retirement age is one that cannot be supported in good conscience. so let's get down to business here. let's protect the middle-class families in america. let's do it now. let's do it before january 1. let's make sure they have the confidence of knowing their income taxes are not going up. one person has the power to do it -- speaker john boehner. if he calls the bill that passed the senate as he is being urged to by his own members of his own party, we can give a good holiday gift. if not a gift, at least a holiday reference to families all across america who are looking for some help, not only in this holiday season but beyond. madam president, i ask that my next statement be placed in a separate part in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: after a long debate, a lot of television commercials, robocalls and tons of political
literature, the 2012 campaign is finally over. america breathes a sigh of political relief. but it was all said and done, more than 120 million americans participated. as we know, the american people have returned divided government to washington. we have a democratic senate with an increased majority, a democratic president, and a republican house of representatives. yet, by a margin of 3.4 million popular votes and 126 electoral votes, president obama was re-elected. now that the dust has settled, we begin the time-honored tradition of inaugurating the president, swearing in new members of congress and beginning a new session. the peaceful transfer of power and the start of a new legislative session are what we're all about in a democracy. we don't anticipate any obstacles with new members of congress assuming power. we can't say the same about many citizens who tried to vote in this election. unfortunately, we know there were far too many voters who ran into obstacles and obstruction at the polls and unreasonable
delays. president obama indicated in his address to the nation on the night of the election, he said we have to fix that. he's right. as we move forward, we must look back and thoroughly examine the problems so many americans encountered when they tried to exercise their legal constitutional right to vote. many of these problems were traceable to new voting laws enacted by republican-controlled legislatures across the country trying to make it harder for americans to vote. this group alec, american legislative exchange council, a group of businesses that put billions of dollars together to create obstacles and object strucks for people to vote. their idea was to diminish the vote among the poor, minorities and the elderly because they felt that those groups leaned democratic, so if they could keep them away from the polls, discourage them from voting, it would help the republican candidates. it didn't work, but they sure
tried and they made life miserable on election day for millions of americans who were just trying to do their civic duty. too many people stood in long lines. too many people were unable to vote because they couldn't wait in long lines. in florida, for example, published reports indicate some voters waited in line as long as seven hours. couldn't cast their ballots until 2:30 in the morning. now, why would a voter hang in there? some of them were just mad, mad that the state of florida and this republican-inspired organization, alec, was doing everything it could to deny their right to vote, and they were darned determined to do it, even if it meant staying there seven hours, seven hours to vote. too many people were required to cast provisional ballots when they were, in fact, eligible and should have received a regular ballot. pennsylvania, for example, issued double the number of provisional ballots it did in 2008. now, the provisional ballot is given to a voter where there is
some question as to their eligibility. in many cases, that question was raised because voters showed up at their polling place only to find their names missing from the registration books. in arizona, more than 174,000 provisional ballots were cast. that's 7.4% of all ballots, higher thoon any previous election. according to recent analysts by a leading arizona paper, minority precincts, those with frarntion and hispanics, supported a disproportionately high number of provisional ballots. arizona has declared war on those minorities who were voting and they saw it when many of them couldn't get their ballot counted on election day. it was put in a separate box to be looked at later. across the states with new voter i.d. requirements, hundreds of thousands of people couldn't vote because they didn't have or couldn't obtain the required i.d. in pennsylvania, south carolina and wisconsin, many voters were confused by these new i.d. requirements and the extent that they were enforced on election
day. in pennsylvania, for example, even though a court ruled that the state's voter i.d. law couldn't be enforced during this election, some voters were still asked for an i.d. and in some cases denied the right to vote. too many eligible voters were unable to register. on election day, too many voters who thought they were registered learned their names were not actually on the voter rolls. florida, for example, imposed onerous requirements on third-party groups like the league of women voters and individuals that traditionally have conducted voter registration drives. those penalties were so awful the league of women voters in florida stopped registering voters for the first time in more than 70 years. high school teachers faced fines of $1,000 under the law if they helped their students to register for the first time and didn't follow the exact letter of their new statutory law. as a result, new voter registration in florida actually dropped 14%.
that's bad news. an overall voter turnout was down compared to 2008. if this is going to be a healthy, growing, vibrant democracy, people who are eligible to vote should be given that opportunity, not penalized and denied. these and other problems encountered by voters at the polls were not limited to one state or region. these problems were experienced by voters across the country. many of the problems that voters encountered on election day were foreseeable and could have been prevented. last year, i started raising concerns about these new state voting laws and what they were going to do. as chairman of the judiciary subcommittee on constitution, civil rights and human rights, i chaired the first hearing to examine the potential impact of these laws in both florida and in ohio. in both states, we heard from experts and election administrators who warned that these new state laws would result in fewer registered voters, long delays on election day, confusion about i.d. requirements and increase in
provisional ballots. madam president, this is just plain wrong. in a country where we want every eligible american to get out and vote, where we want higher percentages of participation, we have state legislatures inspired by this alec foundation dreaming up obstacles and ways to discourage voters. it really is sickening to think of how many lives have been lost by patriotic americans to protect our right to vote and then to have these lobbyists for their own political purposes denying that right over and over again to thousands of eligible american voters. one of the strongest tools we have to ensure the right to vote and to make sure it's not denied on account of a voter's race, sex or any other discriminatory basis is the voting rights act. as we work to continue perfecting our union, the importance of this law cannot be overstated. that's why the voting rights act enjoys a broad spectrum of support. in 2006, the senate voted unanimously 98-0 to reauthorize it, and just this year, the department of justice used its
authority under section 5 of the voting rights act to object to new voter identification laws that threaten to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. in texas, according to the state's own data, more than 79 5,000 registered voters didn't have the i.d. required under their brand-new law. in south carolina, the states data kateed 240,000 registered voters were without the required i.d. and wouldn't be able to vote under the states law. in to states alone over a million people were going to be denied the right to vote even though they were registered voters because they didn't possess the newly defined voter i.d. in each of those states. that's more than one million registered voters -- i repeat -- that would have been turned away. thanks to the justice department and court decisions, that didn't happen. but it would have. that was the plan. since the civil rights movement,
women's suffrage movement and others, some people think our generation's responsibility to fight to protect the right to vote is over. they're just plain wrong. when groups like the alec foundation and the businesses corporations and conservative groups behind them have an all-out effort to deny and discourage the right to vote, we have a job ahead of us. we shouldn't be surprised that people all across america are angry about what happened in this election. these state legislatures instead of encouraging people to exercise their civic duty, were doing their best to discourage them. it's time for us to get serious about this, so next congress after the first of the year, i'm going to hold additional hearings on voting rights in my judiciary subcommittee. i'm committed to thoroughly examining this. there is no excuse in america for standing in a line seven hours to vote. for goodness sakes. other countries that do this by paper ballot doesn't make people
stand in lines that hrorpbgs and they -- that long and they calculate the results the same night. we should be embarrassed by what's going on. and the states should grow up and really pay attention to what they're doing to this great democracy in america. they are undermining it just as surely as if they attacked the right to vote openly by these new obstacles they're creating. these i.d.'s limiting the early voting. states like oregon and others have figured out you can vote by mail without fraud. you can have the opportunities to vote extended in early voting and absentee voting and give people their voice in this democracy. if we want to restore the confidence -ftd american -- of e american people in our government we've got to give them the right to vote on election day. standing in line for seven hours is embarrassing in every state it happens. i know the tradition. state laws determine election standards. that's the way it goes. but when it comes to federal elections, reef a voice in the -- we have a voice in the
process and we've got to make sure we come together on a bipartisan basis to deal with it. i'm pleased chairman leahy and i are going to be able to work together to hold a hearing in the full judiciary committee next wednesday, december 19, to continue to explore this issue, and then into the new congress we'll be proposing specific legislation to deal with this issue. though another election season may have ended, our work to perfect or union and preserve our democracy have not. madam president, i yield the floor.
mr. udall: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: madam president, we're in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, we're not. mr. udall: madam president, i rise today to first recognize the life of a very unique and remarkable coloradoan. then i will speak to a cause that's near and dear to me, i
think as well to the presiding officer, which is our wind energy industry and the threat that it faces. but i first want to speak about a man by the name of randy at kinson who we lost just this year, october 9, 2012, at the way-too-young age of 60. he was a firefighter. he dedicated himself to serving his community and, as he put it, his brothers and sisters in colorado's fire departments. randy was an example to all of us because he dedicated his entire adult life to helping others. he started at the age of 19 in 1972 by joining the denver fire deposit and denver firefighters local 858. not long after that, he took a more active role in representing his fellow firefighters as an advocate and a legislative consultant for the colorado professional firefighters in denver local 858. i have to tell you, he was held
in high esteem not just by his fellow firefighters but by colorado legislators on both sides of the aisle. why was that? he was intelligent, he was caring, he had a great sense of humor. and we all appreciated that when we came into contact with him, whether we were democrats or republicans. he was a leader, madam president. because of that, he kept rising in the ranks. in 1995 he was elected president of the colorado professional firefighters. and then in 2007 he was elected vice president for the international association of firefighters in the ninth district. when he died, he was serving in both of those positions. i know the presiding officer has phenomenal crew of firefighters in her home state, and we know what they did on 9/11, what they do every day. randy was a man who served in that spirit. while he represented firefighters, he always was
fighting for fair pay and making sure that those who stand up for us in times of hazard and emergency had the best possible safety equipment to carry out their dangerous and, as we all know, unsung responsibilities. while that meant that at times he had to be pretty hard-nosed when it came to negotiating and standing up for firefighters, he always had a positive relationship with policy-makers. even when he was tangling with them. i do have to say that i'm glad that we agreed more often than we disagreed, but he was truly an admired figure. as i think about him, i wish we had more people like randy right here in washington, d.c. we certainly would get more done and we'd have stronger relationships with one another. this fall more than 500 of us gathered to celebrate his life. it included family members,
friends and work associates. we laughed and we cried and showed our appreciation for his life and service. i was honored that day to be a part of that celebration. i wanted to also extend my sincerest condolences to his family including his son, randy jr., and his two daughters brenda and danissa. we all, as i said, hope the viewers understand, just how much we admire him and how hard he worked and how grateful we were to have known him. i'm honored to stand here on the floor of the senate -- i know randy is smiling -- and recognize his life and his accomplishments and above all his enduring spirit and character. i think we have to keep his attitude alive in our actions. madam president, thank you for your interest in another
firefighter. i now wanted to turn to the wind production tax credit. the presiding officer has been here on a number of occasions, and she's been gracious in her interest and support of what we're trying to do. this is my 26th speech urging all of us to extend the wind production tax credit. it's known simply as the p.t.c. in abbreviated form. it's going to expire in four weeks, less than four weeks actually. if we don't extend it, i'm so railroad rid about what's -- i'm so worried about what's going to happen to this important industry. it's created good-paying middle-class jobs in the wind energy industry in not only my own state -- i have a bias about my own state -- but almost all across the nation. almost every state has a stake in the wind energy industry. if you think about what the p.t.c. has done, it's stimulated the growth of our clean energy economy and promoted energy
security. the presiding officer serves on the armed services committee. she knows the importance of energy to national security. we have 75,000 jobs in the wind industry right now in colorado. we're on track to produce 20% of our electricity through wind by harvesting the wind by 2030. but if we let the p.t.c. expire, estimates suggest we would lose half those jobs. we'd be down to 37,000 jobs. then waoepls undermine -- we also undermine our pursuit of energy security, true energy security. our inaction, although the tax credit hasn't expired, has halted further development in the wind energy industry because that set of leaders can't in good faith bring that capital to bear and make those investments that they think that the wind p.t.c. will truly expire. we've seen those negative impacts. we've had hundreds of layoffs in colorado. the businesses nearly ground to a halt. you see that all over the
country. then you get a ripple effect on those communities because tax receipts go down. people aren't as upbeat about the future. it's just a downward spiral we have to end. we should be doing everything we can coming out of this tough economic recession, the great recession, to make strategic investments in our economy and in our energy portfolio. so that general outline of what we face, i want to turn to the state of maine today. we both, the presiding officer and i have great respect for both the maine senators. we're going to miss senator snowe and senator collins has been a strong supporter as well. maine's well positioned to become a major player in the wind energy industry going forward. it has the potential for significant economic development and environmental benefits for maine. in 2011 wind energy provided
2.9% of the pine tree state's power. maine's wind farms power the equivalent of about 100,000 homes. and the outlook for their wind energy industry is bright. the state has another 34 megawatts of wind power under instruction and enough untapped poepbgs to produce three times the state's electricity needs. three times their needs could be powered by harvesting all the wind resources there. so i don't have to say, but i will, that the p.t.c. is crucial to their continued growth and the capacity they have to tap into their available wind resources. now, maine, of course, has a vast interior but it also is on the coast. right now new england is the leading land-based wind producer and experts predict it could become the leading offshore wind producer in the coming years. university of maine has a center, it's called the advanced
structures and composite center. and their research and development is paving the way for this additional offshore development. there's also an expiring tax credit called the investment tax credit, the i.t.c. and that provides additional incentives. the i.t.c. will be vital to the growth of offshore and distributed wind power developments as well. it's also at risk, and we need to include in the discussion of the i.t.c. as we consider an extenders package. i mentioned madam president, what wind projects do is lift local economy. the presiding officer has a lot of rural economies in the north and the west of new york. a lot of agricultural-based economic activity. wind power when it's properly developed is a cash crop that always comes in. and when we face, again, the consequences of this economic
slow-down, wind power has really helped a lot of local economies have additional revenue, economic activity and jobs. i wanted to, in that context in maine talk about the bull hill wind project in hancock county here on the coast. i think that's called down east if you're in maine. and that project is just completed. it's going to generate $100,000 annually in tax revenue. and it's supported by 100 jobs during the peak of the construction. that's a significant number of jobs in a rural county in a state like maine. i have to put a pitch in for colorado. this project uses wind turbines made by vestis which manufactures blades, cells and towers in colorado. much like in colorado, the production tax credit creates and sustains manufacturing jobs, and it's creating growth in maine. i know we've got some job
numbers here that i'm going to share with you in the manufacturing sector. there are four facilities in maine that produce components for the wind energy industry and they install wind projects across the state. about 500 manufacturing jobs. speaking of tax payments, property tax payments, about $6 million comes in from those wind projects to local governments. that money helps infrastructure improvements and other vital services for local maine communities. so it's obvious that the growth of our domestic wind energy industry aided by the wind production tax credit has helped create jobs, encouraged energy security and grown a clean energy economy in maine and all across our country. so it's -- madam president, it's really that simple. the wind energy p.t.c., it powers good-paying middle-class
jobs and, however, if we don't extend it, it's a bipartisan policy, by the way, and the father of the wind p.t.c. is our own senator grassley from iowa. if we don't extend this, we're going to lose thousands of jobs. at a time with our economy still in balance, that's just not acceptable. it can't happen in maine, can't happen in colorado. should be happening to thousands of families across our country. so it's simple. the p.t.c. equals jobs. we need to pass it asap. let's work together. our inaction is stunting the growth of a 21st century clean energy economic opportunity for us. those jobs are not necessarily going to be lost if we don't do what we should do, but they are going to go to places like china, europe. the world is investing in big numbers in wind energy because of all the possibilities for economic development.
so let's in sum remember the production tax credit equals jobs. the p.t.c. equals jobs. let's pass it as soon as possible. time is running out. the clock is ticking. madam president, thank you for your interest, thank you for your support. new york has great wind energy potential. with that, i yield the floor, note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. corker: and i'd like to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. corker: okay. madam president, i notice the chamber is empty today. most of us, i guess, are waiting to see if there is going to be an arrangement made between the president and speaker boehner on our fiscal cliff that's coming up in just a few weeks. i know that all of us want to see that happen. i think that each of us knows that the very best thing that can happen for the economy in new york or tennessee or anyplace is for us to get this behind us and for businesses to begin this next year knowing that congress and the white house have worked out an arrangement to put this fiscal issue in the rearview mirror. i know that we're moving hopefully -- hopefully what we'd like to do is move not just beyond the fiscal cliff but have a fiscal reform bill in place that's in the $4 trillion, $4.5 trillion range, so that he
he -- we can at least for a period of time put this issue in the rearview mirror. madam president, i want to tell you i'm hopeful that that will occur. i know there have been a lot of discussions in our caucus and your caucus about that happening. on the other hand, madam president, it's my understanding that these negotiations really aren't moving along very rapidly. we only have a few weeks left in this year. it's beginning to look like at a minimum if there is an arrangement made, it's not going to be one of the size that all of us would like to see happen. i know that one of the issues that all of us have talked about is the middle-class citizens in our country. i know at some point both chambers will come to the rescue of 98% of people in our country and pass some resolution dealing with the tax issues for the 98% of our people in the country, and i would say, madam president, the sooner we do
that, the better. and actually, that alone would move us beyond this fiscal cliff at year end. again, i know there is a lot of discussions taking place in both chambers about the best way for that to happen. what i'm leading to, madam president, is it looks like based on where the negotiations are right now that this issue is going to move into next year and that we're still not going to be at the dollar amount that i know that you have talked about and i've talked about, and that we're still going to have this issue to deal with. as a matter of fact, what it looks like may well happen is that all we do this year is hopefully move beyond the fiscal cliff. i know over in the house there are discussions about when do you do this, do you do it on january 3 or do you do that in this calendar year. i would argue the very best way to deal with this would be to deal with it prior to year end and go ahead and take our
responsibility seriously, make sure that we rescue the 98% of the people in our country before year end so they go into the new year knowing that that has been dealt with, and then there's other ways we can deal with the upper 2%. i know in new york, for instance, $250,000 a year is not considered to be are extremely wealthy. so maybe we deal with other machinations other than what has been laid out in public comments by the president. but i think we're going to deal with this issue. i want to come to the debt ceiling. madam president, everyone in this country knows what damage was done to our country when we pressed right up against the debt ceiling two augusting ago. i don't want to see that happen again. i do think the arrangement created between the white house and congress during this fiscal dilemma where we raise the debt ceiling by one dollar or every
dollar in cuts that are made, i think that's an appropriate arrangement for us until we get through this fiscal cliff issue. again, what i'd rather see happen is that we just deal with that all right now and we start off next year with people know that's done. since it looks like every day that goes by it looks like it's increasingly unlikely that that's going to happen, i wanted to offer a proposal today for the leadership of the senate and that is since it looks like the debt ceiling could be coming up early next year, as a matter of fact, it may coincide very closely with the continuing resolution so there's two, if you will, moments in time where we've got to make big decisions here for our country, i would offer that we go ahead and begin the process of the debt ceiling and i would make the proposal that the first roughly $1 trillion, $900 billion to $1 trillion in raises in the debt ceiling are accompanied by $900
billion to $1 trillion in cuts in entitlement spending to actually cause those programs to be solvent. i think all of us want to make sure that seniors in this country are protected, we know we have to make some adjustments to medicare, social security and medicaid, which deals with the poor, to make sure that these programs over time are solvent, are not a huge drain on the states that support them in the case of medicaid. and so, madam president, what i'm saying today is why don't we go ahead and get started. i know that most of us did not like particularly the process last time where basically these discussions took place in private and, you know, at the last minute we understood what the deal was and after that, if you remember, we had a process, a supercommittee that was put in place, six republicans, six democrats, highly qualified folks, but they didn't come to a resolution. so we've ended up with the sequester. so what i would propose is instead of doing things in private like that, let's go ahead and address the issue now
in regular order. so what i'd like to propose to the leadership of the senate and over to the house also is that since we know the debt ceiling is coming up, and since none of us, none of us wants to jeopardize the credit rating of this country, i would propose that we finish our work at least a month in advance of the debt ceiling needing to be raised. that way, everybody in the world knows that we solved this problem. i would also propose that we do it through regular order in the committee process so that people can see how we're moving along. are we making progress, are we doing the things that are necessary to be able to raise the debt ceiling during this period of time when we have so many fiscal issues. madam president, my third suggestion is that 100% of the first raise all be oriented towards entitlements. you know, we all are taught to
lead by example and we're -- my daddy used to tell me son, never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn't do yourself. so, madam president, what i plan to do over the next couple of days is to offer a piece of legislation that would cut, reform medicare, social security, and medicaid by $900 billion to $1 trillion -- i hope to do that over the next couple days -- and to offer that as one suggestion as to how we raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion to $1 trillion. i know again that that's going to be coming up in february or march. i know we're going to have the issue of the c.r. coming up, but if the president and speaker boehner are unable to come to an arrangement, i don't think there's any question people around here are going to become very focused on the debt ceiling and certainly the continuing resolution. so what i would say is let's get
busy. let's not wait till the last minute. let's not have closed-door meetings. let's work this this through the committee process and then when the senate passes their bill and the house passes their bill, let's have a conference and he let's deal with the legislation that is necessary to make sure that we continue the precedent that, by the way, the president set this last time with congress and that is for every dollar that we raise in the debt ceiling, we reduce spending by one dollar. i know this precedent isn't going to continue forever, but i think that where we are in the country we've decided that we have tremendous fiscal issues, we have $16 trillion in debt right now and it's rising, i know that all of us know that that's the number-one threat to our nation. as a matter of fact, every developed country in the world knows that the greatest threat to america and candidly, to the world right now, is our solvency. economists on both sides of the aisle have said the greatest
threat to our country is sol solange elizee venty -- colonel vens writei. -- solvency. we can put our head in the sand but we know we're going to deal with a portion of the revenue issue at year end. at some point we've got to rescue the 98%. what i would say to my friends in the house, what i would say to my friends in the house is that candidly, if we are able to rescue the 98% and then we dealt with the upper 2% either with rates or by tax deductions -- i'm open to both -- and we even protected the small businesses like so many people on sides of the aisle have suggested, i would say to my friends in the house that the revenue figure that would accompany these changes is much smaller candidly than maybe the first offer that was made from the house to the president. so this is actually a better way
for those of us who believe that spending is the issue, this is a better way to cause revenue to be at the appropriate mix level, if if you will, in solving our fiscal issues. madam president, we've had a lot of talk about entitlement reform. let me stop for a minute before i go there. people all over the world know this is the number-one threat to our country. economists on both sides of the aisle know it's the number-one threat to our country. and i think for that reason what we've been doing is saying we're not going to voice vote debt ceilings anymore. i know that we have a lot of people on wall street and other places that talk about how the credit rating of our country is so important and believe me, i know that well and i could not agree more. so the last thing we need to do again is to get in a situation where we wait until the last minute and the whole world's wondering whether, you know, we're going to default on our
debt and people are all shaken up about where america is. so i would say since we know that if the president and the speaker don't agree to a large deal, since we know that the debt ceiling is likely to be the next event if you will, the next forcing event that causes us to come to terms with the solvency of this nation -- and, by the way, i know the white house has said certain things about the debt ceiling. what we may want to do is make sure the c.r. and the debt ceiling are tied together so we have both of those forcing moments happening together, but in order to make sure that we don't threaten the credit of this great nation, let's go ahead and work now. as a matter of fact, what i'm going to do in the next couple days is i'm going to offer a bill to raise the debt ceiling of our nation. think about that.
a republican. i'm going to offer a bill to raise the debt ceiling of our nation. i'm going to offer a bill that's going to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion to $1 trillion. i'm going to offer that bill in december. and the debt ceiling's probably not coming until maybe february or march. now, in order to raise that debt ceiling by that amount, it is going to be accompanied by entitlement changes. to equal amounts. it's the same precedent that the president and the speaker agreed to last year and this body agreed to and so i think we're going to follow that formula, likely, into this next year unless there is a large deal announced soon. so would i what would say to members in the house, look, i'm just one senator, i'm just one senator, there are other senators here that certainly have as good or better ideas and so why don't we start the process of formally offering on the floor entitlement reforms
and i would suggest that that's the place we start. i mean, what we've done around here is we've done discretionary cuts, we've created a sequester, at the end of this year, in some form or fashion whether we embarrass ourselves and go over the cliff or before this year ends, we're going to offer revenues, right? i don't know how anybody could believe that revenues aren't coming so would i would say to everyone here, let's move to entitlement reform. that's the only thing candidly that hasn't been talked about in this debate. no one, no one has offered publicly concrete entitlement reforms in legislative language, in the senate of the united states, nobody has done that in the house and that's what's been missing in this debate. so in order to kick off this debate in what i would consider to be an appropriate way, i'm going to offer a debt ceiling increase bill.
i'm going to offer it in the next 24 to 48 hours, may offer it today. it's going to have dollar for dollar entitlement reforms that will save this nation from catastrophe and make sure that seniors have these benefits down the road. and what i would ask the leaders to do is to consider putting in place a process through regular order to consider these bills to deal with the debt ceiling so that we can do it way in advance and everybody can see the process and see the debate and watch our nation function in an appropriate way so that we get this done well in advance of the treasury secretary telling us the debt ceiling needs to be raised. so, madam president, again, let me just close by saying the best thing that could happen for this nation, even though it's odd, i got to tell you it's odd -- we turn on the television at night or read the
paper in the morning and see where the president called speaker boehner. or maybe speaker boehner called the president. and there's drama. and none of us really know what is said, i got a pretty good idea, but our nation is sitting here while this silly, silly debate, here's the united states senate, the greatest deliberative body in the world and what are we doing? we're hearing about discussions on the telephone. and, by the way, if that solves the problem, don't -- don't --, i'm all for it. okay, i'm all for a solution that comes that way and candidly i hope it's a big solution. i hope it's a $4.5 trillion solution that they come to. but i'm doubtful that's going to happen based on where we are today on december 12. so i'm going to offer a debt ceiling bill to move us home. it will move us towards fiscal solvency. it will keep us from
jeopardizing the credit of this nation. we can move these things through regular order, and i would just ask the leadership of the senate, the majority leader reid, to hopefully set up a process soon, because candidly, we're probably going to need to drop debt ceiling bills very, very soon, probably january 3, to make the dates that are necessary to actually raise our debt ceiling and not have the credit implications that we had last august. so, madam president, i thank you for the time. i've been a little bit -- i've been a little bit despond entd about this process because it feels like things are not moving ahead in a way that we're going to be able to put had in the rear view mirror and start this year, this next year, with tremendous economic growth because people know that we've solved this problem. so i've been despondent about that but i woke up this morning with almost a eureka moment think that you know what, if
they're not going to deal with this issue, we know we have to deal with the debt ceiling, we know we have to deal with the c.r., this is a great opportunity for all of us to put out entitlement reforms on the floor for all of us to debate in committee and to pass legislation so that dollar for dollar we can raise the debt ceiling way in advance of any time to cause any kind of credit problems for our country. madam president, i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: good morning, madam president. i ask unanimous consent -- i ask that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: madam president, i rise during this morning business time to speak, particularly during this time of
tension, we're looking at the fiscal cliff, to really use a few minutes to pay a tribute to two wonderful, outstanding senators who will be leaving us at the end of this term that i have served with. wonderful women named senator olympia snowe of maine and senator kay bailey hutchison of texas. dear friends across the other side of the aisle but though they were on the other side of the aisle there was no great divide between us. we have known each other for many years. a -- a few words i'd like to say about my very dear friend, senator olympia snowe. i served with senator snowe both in the house of representatives and then in the united states senate. wow. what an outstanding senator and congressperson she has been. and i know we will continue to see senator snowe in some type
of role in public service, because that's just the kind of person she is. she is deeply in her d.n.a. a public servant. senator snowe has served her state of maine and our nation so well. she's one of our most respected members of congress, known for her civility, her sensibility, her mastery of the substances of the issue. and i might add, she brings that new england sense of a more frugal government but at the same time shows that you can do it in a compassionate, smart way. i know her as a cherished friend and a dear colleague and a crucial partner on so many issues. as i said, we served in the house and the senate together. we have worked on those issues i talk about, the macro issues and the macaroni and cheese issues. we fought for a better economy, particularly in the area of smaller -- small business, a
safer country as we worked on the intelligence committee together, and a more efficient government. and also we worked together on many issues pertaining to women. in the area of small business, she is currently the ranking member on the small business committee with our other colleague, senator mary landrieu. she knows the backbone that runs the economy is small business. and she also knows it's the backbone of the american economy. i've watched her day in and day out being concerned about her fishermen who are out there working in the cold waters off of georgia's bank for lobsters, to the small shop owner on main street, from the potato fields and lumber yards to l.l. bean, olympia snowe has stood up for them but also for the big issues in terms of jobs in the bass shipyard. in national security, we have worked together to look out for our troops here and to protect our communities from predators
over there. she's been steadfast and true. it's a committee that meets often behind closed doors, but i will tell you, there is a senator that continue to look out for the safety of the american people. one of the areas that i've had the closest work with her is in the area of women's health. you might be interested to know that senator snowe and i received the good housekeeping award for house standing achievement in what we did to advance the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer. now, when i called my sister and told her i was getting a good housekeeper award, she thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. when i told her i was getting it with olympia snowe, she knew it had credibility. i say that because what we did and what we did in working together was in medical research and in clinical trials. you might be interested to know that when i came to the senate,
the only other woman senator was senator nancy kassebaum, another wonderful person from across the aisle. women were not included in the protocols at n.i.h. can you believe that? that famous study, take an aspirin a day, take a heart attack away, was done on 10,000 male medical students. not one woman was there. they regarded including women in research that would present deviant results. we were known as the deviant results. well, pat schroeder, olympia snowe, another republican, connie morella from maryland, we said this couldn't continue to go. so we organized across the dome, across the aisle and we went across the beltway to n.i.h. and we pulled up and demanded answers on why -- scientific answers on why we weren't included. the day we pulled up in our cars on a bipartisan basis, george
bush the elder appointed bernadine healy to head n.i.h. and then working together, again, across the aisle and across the dome, working with senators contain i did and kenne established the office of women's health at n.i.h. the famous hormonal replacement therapy study was done. it resulted in massive change in the way doctors treated women and it has reduced breast cancer rates 15%. so i say to all, when you ask, what did olympia snowe did? she would say, i worked on a bipartisan basis. and because of what she did, we did, we all did working together, men and women, house and senate, we have saved lives of women 1 million at a time. i think that's a pretty terrific accomplishment. and no matter what senator snowe does, she can cherish in her heart that she did that. but while we were busy doing the
big picture, she helped me with an individual picture. we went to the refugee camps of cambodia together, along with the congresswomen. it was when the killing fields were at the highest. we saw the horrible consequences of war. we worked together to field the children. we worked together to feed the children and care for the children. i met a young girl in a refugee camp in the catholic relief feeding camp. working with senator snowe, we brought that little girl to the united states of america. she's alive here today, married and living in an american citizen. so what did olympia snowe do? she saved jobs and she saved lives, and i'm proud to be par part -- work with her. and we're going to miss her. and then there's my good friend, kay bailey hutchison, who's just come to the floor. and i'm glad she's going to be here to hear what i've got to say about her. i hold her in such enormous high esteem.
now, senator kay bailey hutchison is known for her competence, her strong character, and being an outstanding champion for texas, an advocate for women, and a real patriot, dedicated to serving our nation. i, too, know her as a dear friend, someone deeply committed to creating that zone of civility among the women of the senate. when senator hutchison arrived in the senate in 1983, this is -- there were -- there were prickly politics beginning to emerge. she had come from the texas legislature and knew the dynamics of a rum and tumble legislative -- a rough and tumble legislative body. but as we worked together on something called the homemaker ira, we said, why don't we just get together to see if we could create a zone of civility. that's when we brought the women together for those monthly dinners. rules were no staff, no leaks, no memos. we talked about everything from hair-dos to hair-raising.
how we could stop the global war against terror and fight the deadly scourge of breast cancer. we worked together, again across the aisle. in 1992, we also worked to hold these power workshops to make sure that every woman could know how to get started in the senate, and we worked together on that. the other thing that senator kay bailey and i helped establish was that we could disagree without being disagreeable. we, the women of the senate, do not have a caucus because we represent states -- that's what the constitution says is our j job; we're here to represent states -- we also have different philosophies and viewpoints on governance. but we also know we can disagree without being disagreeable. a story i'd like to tell is during the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. senator hutchison and i agreed on absolutely the same goal -- equal pay for equal or comparable work for women.
however, we disagreed on the means. we offered -- senator hutchison had about nine amendments. we duked it out here. we went earring to earring in terms of our debate. and the senate commented what intellectual rigor it had, what a sense of comity and exchanging of ideas. and at the end of the day, we think we came up -- we not only passed the legislation but we did it in a way where everybody could feel proud of the process. why can't we do that every day? gee, i wish we could. then working with senator hutchison -- and this is how we got started -- was on the homemaker ira. this was senator hutchison's idea. she came to me and she said, you know, senator barb, there are stay-at-home moms, they are limited to only $500 to what they can contribute to an ira. and if they have the money and if they have both the will and
the wallet, we should give them the same tax opportunities as if they were working in the marketplace because the work at home should be valued as well. and absolutely, we changed that legislation. and, madam president, i have pending here a legislation to permanently change the name of that homemaker ira to the hutchison ira, because she really did lead the way. i was an able ally. and we made a difference. so i could go through item after item, the way we've worked on breast cancer together, the way we've worked on appropriations. she has -- is my ranking member on commerce, justice and science. we've worked together on the space program. we've worked together to keep our -- our areas safe. from the start, we shared a personal commitment that technology in space could help america remain exceptional.
a belief in supporting the research in science leading to new ideas that would be not only new areas that we would explore but new technologies for new products and new jobs. yes, i visited her dad at mission control and i've been there during the great research that we were able to see being done in that area. she, too, remember, the home of the komen foundation is in texas. but it is not -- senator hutchison was very clear that she wanted to be sure that she, too, was an advocate for women's health. we worked together on mammogram quality standards. madam president, were you aware that in the early days -- and i know sometimes we sound like we built the pyramids together when i tell these stories -- it is both ancient history and a recent reality. if you went into a doctor's office 10, 12 years ago for a mammogram, you might have gotten
a chest x-ray and they would have called it a mammogram. it was often given by untrained technicians, no standards for the equipment, that it would really work the way it's supposed to work, f often uncalibrated and ineffectual. senator hutchison and i worked using sound science, thorough hearings, working with the institute of medicine, f.d.a., the national institutes of standards. and now if you go into your doctor's office for that mammogram, you'll see a certificate from your government that says, this is a place where when your -- that you know that the mammogram -- the technology will work and the people who will be giving it will be trained. you know, once again, early detection and screening, saving lives a million at a time. isn't that fantastic? and again, across the aisle we were able to do that. we also did a book together. she was the leader in helping us get our famous book, "nine and
counting." maybe it will be time for another book. but when the chapter of the history of the senate is written, we want to be sure that the chapter really includes a big statement to the work of senator kay bailey hutchison. you know, again, in this institution, it is the personal relationships built often on policy. i know -- i met -- i went to texas to tour the space program with senator hutchison. that's where we heard about the national space biomedical research institute at baylor. i was there. i met senator hutchison's brother who faced the same blood cancer disease that geraldine ferraro faced. gerry and her brother became fast friends so kay and barb teamed up and again we pushed research at n.i.h. there -- yo you know, cancer kns no party, it knows no zip code, it knows no ideology.
but it knows that we need to work together to be able to do it. and on that wonderful day of friendship, where we learned the best ideas that will come out of our work in the space program to deal with the dreaded cancer words, the kinds of things we study in space will help us be more effective on earth. kay invited me to the houston livestock show and rodeo. now, madam president, i grew up in baltimore -- you have been there many times yourself. you know it is a city known for his row houses, not for its rodeos. kay invited me to come into the rodeo in the astrodome. with i showed up, to her surprise -- well, i showed up, to her surprise. i had little boots on, a cowgirl hat and a vest. she put me in a buckboard and deep in the heart of texas we circled the astrodome together. i was in a buckboard.
she was in a pall m palomino neo me. at the end of the evening, i was there munching on barbecue, affectionately called buckboard barb, and that's the kind of thing -- and i have the pictures to show it. they're locked up. i don't widely distribute them much but it was a heck of an evening. i say that because, again, out of that comes great friendships that also lead to smoothing the way, not paving -- actually, not smoothing the way -- paving the way, where we put our heads together to solve our national problems, a understand t and toy where we get the best ideas from a variety of approaches. and at the end of the way, we feel better but america is better off. i'm really -- i'm pretty emotional actually when i think
about olympia and kaye. we've been -- we've been together a long time. we welcome you and your generation, but for those of us who maybe we didn't build the pyramids, i hope senator hutchison can know there's a latin saying that i learned in a catholic girls school many years ago and i'll spell it for you. [speaking latin] -- we will build a monument more lasting than bronze. when senator hutchison returns to texas to find a new way to serve the people of this country, she knows that here in this institution, along with senator olympia snowe, they built monuments far lasting than any statues or any made of bronze. they have made a difference in the lives much people and they've done it in a way that they can be proud of, that we can all be grateful for. madam president, i yield the floor. mrs. hutchison: madam president?
the presiding officer: the is senator from text. mrs. hutchison: madam president, i am so touched by the comments by my colleague, senator mikulski, about myself and olympia. and i appreciate so much that she has singled us out because senator mikulski is a pioneer. she didn't build the pyramids, i might say, but it was close. she was in the house first and then came to the senate. she is our longest-serving woman senator. and she will probably be the dean of all the senate at some point, because she is a legend. she is a legend in the senate. she is a legend in maryland. she is a legend in our country. and when i think back of the things that we've been able to accomplish -- and i -- it's not that it was just because we were women and we were here. but in a deliberative body,
where you have 100 people representing 50 very different states, it's not that the men aren't -- are against anything that we have teamed up to do. it is that is, because of our experiences that we bring to the table, sometimes it wasn't thought of before -- before nor mikulski and -- before senator mikulski and other women came. and i'll just point out a couple of things and embellish a little bit on what the senator said. when we wrote the book "nine and counting," there were nine women in the senate at the time. and it came from something much bigger. it came from a meeting that senator mikulski brought together of the women of ireland and northern ireland. and it was the catholics and the protestants who were trying to
probe the women senators, the nine of us who were here, about how they could be effective in making peace in northern ireland. and when we started telling our stories to them, to encourage them, that they could make a difference in northern ireland, barbara mikulski and i looked at each other and we said, you know, there's a book here. there's a book about the obstacles that women have faced getting to the united states senate and a book that can encourage our girls and our young women that they can have a part in settling the major issues of our country. and it was from that that we contacted bob barnett, who is the agent of senators and house members who write books and also cab net members and presidents, and we said -- and also cabinet
members and presidents. and we said, you know, we'd like to get together and write a book and h we immediately got togethr and wrote a book. and she got a writer who went to each of us and interviewed us and wrote our stories, which were in our own words, and we got together and decided to give all of the proceeds to the girl scouts of america, which was a common organization that had affected almost every one of the women at the time. girl scouts giving leadership capabilities to the girls in our country and i've been a girl scout, barb had been a girl scout. so our book is still in print, and it has raised tens of thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands -- of dollars for the girl scouts to continue their
leadership programs. and it all came from something that we learned about each other. and i think that the multiple myeloma, which my brother has and which geraldine fe ferraro , was another area in which barbara and i boun bonded, and i bonded with geraldine ferraro, too. she encouraged me a lot. barbara mcskul mikulski, who war friend of geraldine ferraro, and who spoke at her funeral -- and we both went to that funeral -- and we were able to pass legislation that did provide for funding for an educational fund for the research and education for multiple myeloma and we
named it "the geraldine fer real estatfer realfeferregard co" dii only died a year and a half or so ago. her brother is a fighter and he is still going and doing great and now becaus beaver because or research, i'm going to tell you, we're maintaining. and we are letting people live a quality of life, because we teamed up and barbara tells the story -- i'll tell you the other side, the other part of the story about the houston road yeahrodeo,because they still tat buckboard barb. she came to the rodeo from her sort of ethnic background in baltimore and she was such a great sport. and i was riding my horse in the grand entry and barb was in the
buckboard. and she was waving and having the best time. and of course all of us were in our rodeo attire, which was sort of foreign to bar shall be, i -o barb, i have to say. but she was in there with her boots and her big-hair hairdo. and barbara leaned over to me and she said, okay, kay, if we were here monday morning and we went to a chamber of commerce meeting, would these people look like this? i still tell that story in houston, texas, which they love. and, of course, i said, oh, yeah -- which wasn't true. but i loved it. she was the best sport, and they still talk about her. and they did give her a cowboy hat that was to die for. and let me mention one other -- and i know that senator akaka is there, and i won't take much
more of your time. we teamed up on single-sex schools. the senator from maryland mentioned her catholic girls school upbringing. hillary clinton, barbara mikulski, susa susan collins and myself teamed up to assure that every girl in this country has the opportunity if their school board decides to offer it as an option to go to a girls school, and likewise every boy whose school board decides that would be better for the boyce -- in middle challenge especially and high school. because we teamed up after about 15 years of trying, starting with jack danforth from missouri, who started the effort to allow single-sex schools in our public entities in america. when i came here in 1993, we finally passed it with our
coalition saying, we know that this can be better for some girls and some boyce - boys. not all. but it was, i will say to the distinguished presiding officer, it was the young women's leadership academy in harlem, new york, that gave us the courage to say, this can be done, because they fought all the efforts to not allow it, all the lawsuits, they stood up -- and hillary clinton went to visit the young women's leadership school. i took rod paige, the secretary of education, right there to new york, and i said, secretary paige, we can do this for all americans. we can. and hillary and i and barbara and susan said, we're going to, and we did. and it was a great accomplishment. i just want to end by saying that i so appreciate barbara
mikulski and john cornyn introducing the bill to name the homemaker ira for me. it will mean so much to me because i had the experience as a young single woman starting an ira, getting married, and being told, i really couldn't provide for my own retirement security. and i knew that there were so many women who, through divorce or death of a husband -- and they'd gone in and out of the workforce or never been in the outside workforce, and they couldn't save for their own retirement security. and when i went to barbara, i said, barbara, it's a democratic senate.
i will make it bill high-incomel make this bill mikulski-hutchison to get it passed. senator mikulski said, not on your life. it will be hutchison-mikulski, because it is your idea. and she worked just as hard as if it were the reverse. that says more about the senator from maryland than anything i can say. and thank you, barbara, for introducing the bill that would name it for me because i know it will help women long after i leave. and i thank you. and i yield the floor. thank you.
mr. akaka: madam president? the presiding officer: the the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: madam president, i rise to give me remarks and my aloha to the united states senate. madam president, before i begin, i want to say that my good friend, my colleague of 36 years, my brother dan inouye, hawaii's senior senator, i wish
him a speedy recovery and return to the senate. mr. president, i -- i mean, madam president, i rise today to say aloha to this institution. i have been honored to be a member of the united states senate for 22 years. it has been an incredible journey that i never imagined. as a senior in high school going to kamemha school for boys, which was noted as a military school, my life was changed for school. when i saw japanese fighter planes attacking pearl harbor. like most men in my generation,
i joined the war effort. my path was forever altered. when the war ended, i believe i was suffering from ptsd. it was an act of congress that allowed me and the veterans of my generation, to build successful new kind of lives. congress passed the g.i. bill and i say with certainty that i would not be standing before you today without the opportunity that the g.i. bill gave me. not only to get an education but to have structure and a path forward, and the feeling that there was a way for me to help
people. this proved to me that when congress acts responsibly, it can build a better america. that is why when i was blessed with the opportunity to lead the senate committee on veterans' affairs, i dedicated myself helping our service members and veterans and their families and worked with my colleagues to expand v.a. services and pass a new 21st century g.i. bill. so i want to take this moment to urge all of my colleagues and all of the incoming senators and representatives that they do everything they can for veterans and their families, because we
asked to sacrifice so much for us. they put their lives on the line while their wives and husbands watched over their families. caring for them is one of the most sacred obligations as a nation, and not everyone on the front lines making our nation stronger wears a uniform. in many critical fields, the federal government struggles to compete with the private sector to recruit and retain the skilled people our nation needs. experts in cybersecurity and intelligence analysis, doctors and nurses to care for our wounded warriors, accountants to protect taxpayers during
billion-dollar defense acquisitions, these are just a few examples. after i leave the senate, it is my hope that other members will continue to focus on making the federal government an employer of choice. we need the best and brightest working for our nation. the work of the united states congress will never end, but careers come to a close. like the great men whose names are etched here in this desk, i am humbled to know i have left my mark on this institution. i'm proud to be the first native hawaiian ever to serve in the senate, just as i am so proud to be one of the three u.s. army
world war ii veterans who remain in the senate today. the united states is a great country. one of the things that makes us so great is that though we have made mistakes, we change, we correct them, we right past wrongs. it is our responsibility as a nation to do right by america's native people. those who exercise sovereignty on lands that later became part of the united states. while we can never change the past, we have the power to change the future. throughout my career, i have worked to ensure that my colleagues understand the federal relationship with native peoples and its origins in the
constitution. the united states policy of supporting self-determination and self-governance for indigenous peoples leads to native self-sufficiency, resulting in our continued ability to be productive and contribute to the well-being of our families, our communities, and our great nation. that is why i work to secure parity in federal policy for my people, the native hawaiians. the united states has recognized hundreds of alaska native and american indian communities. it is long past time for the native hawaiian people to have the same rights, same privilege, and same opportunities as every other federally recognized native people. for more than 12 years now i
have worked with the native hawaiian community and many others to develop the native hawaiian government reorganization act, which has the strong support of hawaii's legislature and governor as the best path forward towards reconciliation. my bill has incurred many challenges but it is right, it is long overdue. although i will not be the bill's sponsor in the 113th congress, it will forever bear my highest aspirations and heartfelt commitment to the native hawaiian people, the state of hawaii, and the united states of america. i know i'm just one in a long line working to ensure that our
language, our culture, and our people continue to thrive for generations to come. hawaii has so much, i believe, to teach the world and this institution, and congress and in our nation, we are truly all together in the same canoe. if we paddle together in unison, we can travel great distances. if the two sides of the canoe paddle in opposite directions, we will go in circles. i urge my colleagues to take this traditional hawaiian symbol to heart and put the american people first by working together. i want to say mahalo maa loa,
thank you very much to my incredible staff. after 36 years there are far too many individuals to name, so i will just thank all of my current and former staff members in my senate and house offices and under my committees, including indian affairs, veterans' affairs, and the subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal work force, and the district of columbia. i want to thank the hundreds of employees who work for the architect of the capitol and the sergeant at arms. without the hard work they do every day, we could not do what we do in the senate. mahalo, thank you 0 the floor and the leadership staff as well
i also want to thank chaplain barry black, who has provided me so much guidance and strength, and has done more to bring the two sides of the chamber together and find common ground than just about anyone. and i want to thank our colleagues who join together every week for prayer breakfast and also bible study as well. and all of these have helped to shape me in the things that i do here. and there is no one i owe more to than my lovely wife of 65 years, millie. she is literally there for me whenever i need her. nearly every day that i've
served in the senate for the past 22 years, millie has come to the office with me. she makes me lump, she keeps me focused and she makes sure i know what is happening back home. she means the world to me. every honor i've received belongs to her and to my family, my children, my grandchildren and great grandchildren. this speech is their farewell speech, too. so mahalo, millie, and my family. in life there are seasons. while leaving congress is bittersweet, i am looking forward to spending more time
with our five children, getting to know our 15 great grandchildren, and can you believe this, we are expecting our 16th great grandchild next year. i will be hope to see it. i am looking forward to speaking with students and mentoring up-and-coming leaders and visiting places in hawaii that i have worked for over my career. my goal was to bring the spirit of aloha to our nation's capital in everything i do. in hawaii, we look out for one another, we work together, we treat each other with respect. i hope i succeeded in sharing a little bit of hawaii with all of you. as i come to the end of 22 years
in this chamber, and a total of 36 years serving in congress, i offer my profound gratitude and humble thanks to the people of hawaii for giving me the opportunity to serve them for so many years. it truly was the experience of a lifetime. all i ever wanted was to be able to help people, and you gave me that opportunity. so mahalo nui loa. in hawaii we don't say goodbye. we say until we meet again. although i'm retiring, i see this as the start of a new chapter and new season.
and i am blessed to have made friendships and partnerships that will last forever. god bless hawaii, god bless the united states of america with the spirit of aloha. ahoiho. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. lugar: madam president, i rise to address my colleagues on a number of issues important to the future of the united states, and to offer some perspective on senate service. in a few weeks, i will leave the senate for new